Jessie Bond

MA work

Proximity and Distance: Technology and Conflict's Imaginings

There is a failure in the mediated images of warfare that we encounter: their message is too direct, too blunt, too simplistic, too easily digested and disregarded. At war, photographs are expected to bear witness; they act as information, compressing or simplifying events. The image can also act as prosthesis; it is a screen, one that blocks reality or draws it nearer. Images are weapons, they can wound us: they blame us and are blamed, used as justification for the waging of war. 

The artworks considered in this text somehow halt, silence or put into question the accepted function of images at war. The photographs and films presented initiate conversation with the viewer, dismantling and criticising the distancing effects of media representation, rather than offering definitive answers.

Looking at the work of Jananne Al-Ani, James Bridle, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Omer Fast, Tracy Mackenna & Edwin Janssen, Richard Mosse, Simon Norfolk, Walid Raad and Paul Seawright, the photographic image is scrutinised. Its status as a trustworthy conduit of information on the events of war is judged, revealing the fragility of photography’s ability to convey truth. The process of embedding journalists is also analysed, considering the means through which images of war are produced and controlled, and what scope there is for artists to act outside of these restrictions. It is revealed how beauty can be used to seduce the viewer and present an image of warfare that is unexpected and uncomfortable in its startling aesthiticisation of conflict. The camera is liberated form its function of telling the “truth”, allowing a nuanced representation of conflict to emerge.

Info

  • J Bond
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014


  • There is a failure in the mediated images of warfare that we encounter: their message is too direct, too blunt, too simplistic, too easily digested and disregarded. At war, photographs are expected to bear witness; they act as information, compressing or simplifying events. The image can also act as prosthesis; it is a screen, one that blocks reality or draws it nearer. Images are weapons, they can wound us: they blame us and are blamed, used as justification for the waging of war.

    The artworks considered in this text somehow halt, silence or put into question the accepted function of images at war. The photographs and films presented initiate conversation with the viewer, dismantling and criticising the distancing effects of media representation, rather than offering definitive answers.

    Looking at the work of Jananne Al-Ani, James Bridle, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Omer Fast, Tracy Mackenna & Edwin Janssen, Richard Mosse, Simon Norfolk, Walid Raad and Paul Seawright, the photographic image is scrutinised. Its status as a trustworthy conduit of information on the events of war is judged, revealing the fragility of photography’s ability to convey truth. The process of embedding journalists is also analysed, considering the means through which images of war are produced and controlled, and what scope there is for artists to act outside of these restrictions. It is revealed how beauty can be used to seduce the viewer and present an image of warfare that is unexpected and uncomfortable in its startling aesthiticisation of conflict. The camera is liberated from its function of telling the “truth”, allowing a nuanced representation of conflict to emerge.

  • Degrees

  • BA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art & Design, 2009
  • Experience

  • Assistant editor, Science & Fiction, RCA Photography and Black Dog, 2014; Exhibitions intern, Serpentine Galleries, London, 2013–2014; Tour guide, Art Licks, London, 2013–2014
  • Publications

  • 'From Person to Book and Back Again', Ends Meet, RCA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014; 'A Most Sophisticated Weapon', ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine, 1950–1978, Royal College of Art, 2014, pp.95–6; 'On the Surface', Arc 18, Royal College of Art, 2014; 'SWEAT', Art Licks, 14, 2014; 'Grockles and Muscles', As is the Sea, RCA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014